Sizing the droplets of a rocket injector

Last year, around October, I have been admitted to the Honours Programme by TU Delft’s faculty of Aerospace Engineering. This programme consists of extracurricular courses (such as Personal Leadership, Cybersecurity, Design Thinking, etc.) and a research project worth of 13 ECTS. The latter has been a challenge for me to choose because I was told that I can take any domain in our faculty to dig into. After several months of visiting different professors, I made my choice of working in Space Engineering with Prof. Barry Zandbergen, who is now my supervisor for the current research.

So what am I doing specifically? I can’t just say I am a space engineer who plays with rockets in his spare time (ok, maybe sometimes). The goal of this research is to characterize the droplets of a plain orifice rocket injector. Here is my literature study.

So why is this so important? There is an optimum when it comes to the size/volume of a droplet at a certain distance from the injector. If the droplet is too small, it will evaporate quickly, before penetrating into the combustion chamber. If the droplet is too big, the engine overall will not reach its maximum efficiency.

In order to achieve the objective, experiments are to be held as the behavior of the atomization process is non-linear and models are very hard to predict. Therefore in my experiments, water will be emerged through a simple injector and pictures will be taken at different upstream pressures. I will keep you posted with the experimental setup and the final results.

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